fiannaFailMan writes: Norton has announced the launch of a smart router designed to protect connected home devices from intrusions. The Symantec-owned company says the device aims to keep safe up to 20 devices connected to it, including Windows computers, Macs, phones, tablets or any internet-of-things devices, in real time. Norton Core, shaped a little like a geodesic dome, can isolate an infected device from the rest of your network to prevent the spreading of any malware.
fiannaFailMan writes: The International Ice Patrol was established in 1914, two years after the Titanic disaster. It began tracking icebergs using surface ships, later flying patrols, and now a combination that includes Earth Observation (EO) satellite data. Predicting the path of bergs demands a lot of computing power, which has now been simplified using a cloud computing solution that was initially developed for the European Space Agency. No ship captain that has heeded warnings from the patrol has ever struck an iceberg, and demand for the service is expected to increase as the melting Northwest Passage opens up to commercial shipping.
fiannaFailMan writes: Apple's futuristic new building is neither a new concept nor a progressive innovation. Like the Pentagon and GCHQ, both of which are also owned by secretive organizations, the building is designed to be viewed from the air with no consideration for how it is to be viewed from the street other than hiding it like an embarrassing relative behind a forest of trees, rendering it invisible to all but airline passengers. Its sprawling and insular design philosophy is a last gasp of a dying utopian architectural vision that is thankfully being abandoned as we return to more traditional and sustainable models of urban planning.
fiannaFailMan writes: Police departments of small American towns and cities have been stocking up on an arsenal that would hold back an alien invasion. Meanwhile, an aerial observation system called Persistence Surveillance Systems that can record the movements of vehicles and pedestrians for later analysis, allowing police to go back to the time and place where a crime was reported and see it taking place, was used in 2012 in one Californian city for two weeks without public knowledge or consultation. Such invasive surveillance combined with excessively militarized policing could undermine support for, and hence the effectiveness of, law enforcement.
fiannaFailMan writes: Following an investigation by the US Department of Labor, LinkedIn has agreed to pay over $3 million in overtime back wages and $2.5 million in liquidated damages to 359 former and current employees working at company branches in four states. The Fair Labor Standards Act requires companies to have record-keeping systems in place to record overtime hours worked and to ensure that employees are paid for those hours, requirements that the company was not meeting.
fiannaFailMan writes: The SS United States is the fastest ocean liner ever built. A far cry from the heyday of these great ships that were made obsolete by jet travel, her gutted hulk has been rusting in Philadelphia since 1996. However, like the majestic Queen Mary that now serves as a floating hotel and museum in Long Beach, there are plans afoot to finally find the "big U" a permanent home in New York as part of a waterfront redevelopment.
fiannaFailMan writes: Before the current offensive in Gaza erupted, the city of Tel Aviv grabbed headlines and the imagination of futurists everywhere with the announcement that a so-called “hover car” passenger transport system will be implemented by the end of 2016 on a trial basis. The concept of Personal Rapid Transport (PRT) is not new. Various attempts at PRT prototypes have been proposed and built in the past, some resembling small bubble-shaped pods running on a rollercoaster-like rail system. Perhaps the most extensive study was carried out in Hamburg in the 1970s. Cabintaxi was a network of elevated tracks using a clever arrangement that had cube-shaped pods suspended underneath the track going in one direction, and other cube-shaped pods sitting on top of the track going in the other.
fiannaFailMan writes: Governments sometimes see the value of science in purely economic terms, resulting in short-term thinking about what should be funded. For example, the Irish government has been criticized for focusing to much on scientific research that produces immediately tangible benefits, i.e. jobs, that bolster the image of politicians. "Professor Jean-Pierre Bourguignon, European Research Council president, recently reiterated a criticism made two years ago that Ireland is too focussed on research aimed at immediate job creation and as a result is missing out on potential funding. He is also quoted as saying that basic science must be left to flourish before people move to exploit it to create jobs."
fiannaFailMan writes: Wired reports one mathematician's mission to find love online by data mining from OK Cupid and applying mathematical modeling to optimize his profile(s). His methods included using "Python scripts to riffle through hundreds of OkCupid survey questions. He then sorted female daters into seven clusters, like “Diverse” and “Mindful,” each with distinct characteristics." But the real work began when he started going on dates.
fiannaFailMan writes: Yahoo recently revamped their email service and it has been met with widespread hostility. Many features had been removed but most contentious is the obliteration of tabs. So far nearly 100,000 people have called for tabs to be restored on the Yahoo voice feedback page. Other issues that have had fewer votes have been fixed, but the lady does not seem to be for turning on this one. There are also reports of widespread service disruption. I have been unable to access the service at all since yesterday either from desktop or iPhone, and can't even get in there to retrieve my contacts. Being cut off from email has been a humbling reminder of how much we have come to rely on cloud services.
fiannaFailMan writes: "Teams of scientists from across the continent are vying for a funding bonanza that could see two of them receive up to (euro) 1 billion ($1.33 billion) over 10 years to keep Europe at the cutting edge of technology.
The contest began with 26 proposals that were whittled down to six last year. Just four have made it to the final round.
They include a plan to develop digital guardian angels that would keep people safe from harm; a massive data-crunching machine to simulate social, economic and technological change on our planet; an effort to craft the most accurate computer model of the human brain to date; and a team working to find better ways to produce and employ graphene — an ultra-thin material that could revolutionize manufacturing of everything from airplanes to computer chips."
fiannaFailMan writes: The Babbage blog at The Economist is reporting that Wikipedia has revealed a WYSIWYG editor that they hope will bring about a fresh spurt of new editors. But will it stop newbies from being discouraged by reverts by more experienced editors?
fiannaFailMan writes: What a hard time Toyota is having now. Rather than blaming over-expansion, The Economist is attributing their current woes to a shortening of product development cycles, and increasing reliance on electronics to do jobs that were previously done by mechanical parts:
But software is not hardware, and software “engineers”, despite their appropriation of the name, are a different breed from the sort that bash metal. Programming digital controllers is not one of Toyota’s core competences. Even with the most diligent of testing, bugs will always find their way into software. Right now, it seems Toyota is learning that lesson the hard way.
America’s Supreme Court is about to issue a ruling which, by all accounts, will make it difficult, if not impossible, to get a patent for a business process. And because most business processes are, at bottom, computer algorithms, the Supreme Court’s judgment could also bar all sorts of software patents in the process. As a result, a lot of patents for online shopping, medical-diagnostic tests and procedures for executing trades on Wall Street could be invalidated.
fiannaFailMan writes: The internet is set to undergo one of its biggest changes, with the expected approval of plans to introduce web addresses using non-Latin characters. The board of the net regulator, Icann, will decide whether to allow domain names in Arabic, Chinese and other scripts at its annual meeting in Seoul. More than half of the 1.6 billion people who use the internet speak languages with non-Latin scripts.